Research Case Studies to Gain an Understanding of Existing Problems in the Field

Research Case Studies to Gain an Understanding of Existing Problems in the Field

Activity Resources
? Cooper, D., & Schindler, P. (2011)., Chapters 1 and 2
? Venable, J. (2011).
Main Task: Research Case Studies to Gain an Understanding of Existing Problems in the Field
Analyze three to five (3-5) existing research studies in Human Resources (HR) that will represent current topics that are invaluable to your field of specialization. Select a topic of interest from additional research of either the peer-reviewed journal articles. Evaluate your research selections using the following nine steps:

1. Purpose clearly defined. The purpose of the business research?the problem involved or the
decision to be made?should be clearly defined and sharply delineated in terms as unambiguous-
ous as possible. Getting this in writing is valuable even in instances in which the same person
serves as researcher and decision maker. The statement of the decision problem should include
its scope, its limitations, and the precise meanings of all words and terms significant to the
research. Failure of the researcher to do this adequately may raise legitimate doubts in the
minds of research report readers as to whether the researcher has sufficient understanding of
the problem to make a sound proposal attacking it.

2. Research process detailed. The research procedures used should be described in sufficient
detail to permit another researcher to repeat the research. This includes the steps to acquire
participants, informed consent, sampling methods and representativeness, and data gathering
procedures. Except when secrecy is imposed, research reports should reveal with candor the
sources of data and the means by which they were obtained. Omission of significant procedural
details makes it difficult or impossible to estimate the validity and reliability of the data and
justifiably weakens the confidence of the reader in the research itself as well as any recommen-
dations based on the research.

3. Research design thoroughly planned. The procedural design of the research, and its choice
among competing designs, should be clearly described and carefully planned to yield results
that are as objective as possible. A survey of opinions or recollections ought not to be used
when more reliable evidence is available from documentary sources or by direct observation.
Bibliographic searches should be as thorough and complete as possible. Experiments should have
satisfactory controls, reducing threats to internal validity and enhancing the probability of
external validity (generalizability). Direct observations should be recorded as soon as possible
after the event. Efforts should be made to minimize the influence of personal bias in selecting
and recording data.
4. High ethical standards applied. Researchers often work independently and have significant
latitude in designing and executing projects. A research design that includes safeguards against
causing mental or physical harm to participants and makes data integrity a first priority should
be highly valued. Ethical issues in research reflect important moral concerns about the practice
of responsible behavior in society.
Researchers frequently find themselves precariously balancing the rights of their subjects
against the scientific dictates of their chosen method. When this occurs, they have a responsi-
bility to guard the welfare of the participants in the studies and also the organizations to which
they belong, their clients, their colleagues, and themselves. Careful consideration must be given
to those research situations in which there is a possibility for physical or psychological harm,
exploitation, invasion of privacy, and/or loss of dignity. The research need must be weighed
against the potential for these adverse effects. Typically, you can redesign a study, but some-
times you cannot. The researcher should be prepared for this dilemma.

5. Limitations frankly revealed. The researcher should report, with complete frankness, flaws
in procedural design and estimate their effect on the findings. There are very few perfect research
designs. Some of the imperfections may have little effect on the validity and reliability of the
data; others may invalidate them entirely. A competent researcher should be sensitive to the
effects of imperfect design. The researcher?s experience in analyzing data should provide a
basis for estimating the influence of design flaws. As a decision maker, you should question the
value of research about which no limitations are reported.

6. Adequate analysis for decision maker?s needs. Analysis of the data should be extensive enough to reveal its significance, what managers call insights. The methods of analysis used should be appropriate. The extent to which this criterion is met is frequently a good measure of the competence of the researcher. Adequate analysis of the data is the most difficult phase of research for the novice. The validity and reliability of data should be checked carefully. The data should be classified in ways that assist the researcher in reaching pertinent conclusions and clearly reveal the findings that have led to those conclusions. When statistical methods are used, appropriate descriptive and inferential techniques should be chosen, the probability of error should be estimated, and the criteria of statistical significance applied.

7. Findings presented unambiguously. Some evidence of the competence and integrity of the
researcher may be found in the report itself. For example, language that is restrained, clear,
and precise; assertions that are carefully drawn and hedged with appropriate reservations; and
an apparent effort to achieve maximum objectivity tend to leave a favorable impression of
the researcher with the decision maker. Generalizations that outrun the statistical findings or
other evidence on which they are based, exaggerations, and unnecessary verbiage tend to leave
an unfavorable impression. Such reports are not valuable to managers wading through the
minefields of organizational decision making. Presentation of data should be comprehensive,
reasonably interpreted, easily understood by the decision maker, and organized so that the deci-
sion maker can readily locate critical findings.

8. Conclusions justified. Conclusions should be limited to those for which the data provide an
adequate basis. Researchers are often tempted to broaden the basis of induction by including
personal experiences and their interpretations?data not subject to the controls under which
the research was conducted. Equally undesirable is the all-too-frequent practice of drawing
conclusions from a study of a limited population and applying them universally. Research-
ers also may be tempted to rely too heavily on data collected in a prior study and use it in the
interpretation of a new study. Such practice sometimes occurs among research specialists who
confine their work to clients in a small industry. These actions tend to decrease the objectiv-
ity of the research and weaken readers? confidence in the findings. Good researchers always
specify the conditions under which their conclusions seem to be valid.

9. Researcher?s experience reflected. Greater confidence in the research is warranted if the
researcher is experienced, has a good reputation in research, and is a person of integrity.
Were it possible for the reader of a research report to obtain sufficient information about
the researcher, this criterion perhaps would be one of the best bases for judging the degree
of confidence a piece of research warrants and the value of any decision based upon it. For
this reason the research report should contain information about the qualifications of the

Support your paper with a minimum of three (3) scholarly resources in addition to the required readings. In addition to these specified resources, other appropriate scholarly resources, including older articles, may be included.


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